Coalitions, challengers, and political
The emergence of a revolutionary situation depends at a minimum on the formation of broad coalitions against the state and the rise of new contenders, or a coalition of contenders, who advance exclusive competing claims to control the state (Tilly 1994:10). Such coalitions emerge only infrequently, despite the fact that social Conflicts are prevalent throughout developing countries, and that, from time to time, revolutionary challengers rise to transform the social order. In the absence of prior state breakdown or military victory by insurgents, broad coalitions increase the likelihood of a transfer of power and a revolution for four reasons. First, broad coalitions tend to isolate the government and reduce or eliminate the social basis of support of the regime. Second, such coalitions increase the likelihood that factionalism, defection, or paralysis will beset the armed forces. Third, broad coalitions are essential to initiate large-scale disruptive activities, such as general strikes, in order to dislodge the powerholders. Finally, in the case of government intransigence, broad coalitions may encourage greater social support for armed struggle, as the last resort, to defeat military forces.
Although structural factors such as exclusive rule, levels of state intervention and economic crises affect the likelihood of coalition formation, so too do political factors and processes. The probability that broad coalitions will be formed depends, in part, on the strength of the alternative challengers, the extent of class Conflict, and the available mobilization options. Coalitions are unlikely to be formed in the presence of powerful, ideologically driven challengers that make exclusive claim to state power. Coalitions are also unlikely when workers shift to radical ideologies and intensify class Conflict that threatens the capitalist class and the entire social structure. Under such conditions, the strength of ideologically driven challengers together with the radicalization of the working classes threaten the capitalist class and make it increasingly dependent on the state for stability, thereby reducing the likelihood of broad coalitions. The result may be elite compromise and electoral contest, which often exclude the revolutionary challengers from the contest. In contrast, the likelihood